Missouri town to host Loser-palooza for Jan. 6 rioters, and not everyone is happy about it

What is it with America and its penchant for celebrating failed, deadly insurrections launched in the name of white supremacy? We had that whole Civil War business in the mid-1800s, and that probably should have settled the issue once and for all. But we let Confederacy-humpers hang around like a bad bathroom chandelier, and so on Jan. 6, 2021, they tried again.

And now they’re so enamored with their bumblin’ coup, they’re holding events to honor the perpetrators. Because nothing says “I’m sorry” like a $9 Costco sheet cake that actually says, “Nice Try, Traitor—Better Luck Next Time!”

The town of Rogersville, Missouri, will host a Loser-palooza this weekend for a passel of peeps the organizers are oddly referring to as the “J6 community.” And not everyone is happy about it.

RELATED STORY: Music to Trump's ears: Whitewashing Jan. 6 riot with song

Called the J6 Truth and Light Freedom Festival, the event runs Friday through Sunday in Rogersville and is supposed to feature numerous speakers, live and via Zoom. Some are facing multiple felony charges in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack and one recently was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

“An amazing weekend of love and support for our J6 community!” says a flyer being circulated about the event. “Bring your RV, tent, lawn chairs and the whole family for this annual gathering of the Jan6 community!”

Nice to know J6 rioters are a “community” now. Of course, it makes perfect sense. Bashing in cops’ heads with flagpoles is hard work, and everyone needs to pitch in. You know, like when Amish towns all get together to raise one lazy fuck’s barn that he can’t be bothered to raise himself.

But those who monitor extremist groups say the festival raises concerns about the potential for future violence.

“These events are really important to watch,” said Chuck Tanner, research director at the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which has tracked extremist activity for decades. “You see at them the contours of a movement stretching from the halls of government to far-right publications and groups — and a movement that continues to frame January 6 insurrectionists as martyrs and build out a framework for another far right, nationalist insurrection.”

Good point. After all, OG insurrectionist Jefferson Beavis Trump is still at large, and we’ve even heard rumors that he’s running for president. Which is almost too outlandish to believe given that he literally tried to end American democracy, but I swear I read that somewhere.

Sadly, conservatives have been doing their best to normalize the events of Jan. 6, 2021, pretty much since the evening of Jan. 6, 2021, when Fox News, et al., openly speculated that the riot had actually been launched by liberal agitators who had inexplicably decided to disrupt the election of the guy they’d voted for and desperately hoped would win. And when the Senate voted to acquit Trump during his second impeachment—and Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Kevin McCarthy decided once again to find succor at Donald John Trump’s oleaginous, heaving bosom—Insurrection 2.0 was officially underway.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center noted on the second anniversary of Jan. 6, the danger Trump and his followers posed to our democracy on that fateful day has arguably grown.

We have also learned that white supremacy and hard-right extremism have been normalized and mainstreamed to a dangerous degree. White supremacist groups played a lead role in organizing, coordinating and executing the deadly Capitol attack and in other efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. SPLC Intelligence Project experts submitted testimony to the [House Jan. 6] committee on how extremist groups and individuals – like the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and white nationalist Nick Fuentes – have infused once-marginalized, white supremacist ideas into mainstream Republican discourse and politics with the goal of maintaining a grip on power and silencing communities of color.

The threat of political violence substantially increased in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack. According to a June 2022 poll jointly conducted by the SPLC and Tulchin Research, the mainstreaming of hate and antigovernment thought, and the willingness to engage in political violence, are now widely accepted on the right.

According to promotional materials distributed by the organizers, the festival is “a closed event only for J6’ers and their families.” Which is odd, considering how proud they appear to be about their gaffe riot. 

Nicole Reffitt, one of the scheduled speakers, said in a video posted by Sedition Hunters that the event would be “mostly peaceful.” She appeared to be “joking,” but then these are the same people who support the guy who wants you to believe the rioters were hugging and kissing the Capitol Police.

Apparently the event celebrating the violence at the Capitol on Jan 6, 2021 in Rogersville, MO sponsored by @godfatherspizza will be "mostly peaceful" hope @FBIKansasCity is keeping an eye on things https://t.co/uNFn6qTik6

— TheRealJ6 (@SeditionHunters) June 28, 2023

Meanwhile, members of the non-white-nationalist-insurrection community remain alarmed over the troubling lack of political consensus that attempting to overthrow your own democracy is a bad thing. The Star spoke with Don Haider-Markel, a University of Kansas political science professor and an expert on extremism, who remarked that the festival had a “pretty narrow appeal” but was nevertheless emblematic of a bigger—and festering—problem. 

“But I definitely think it’s further evidence of the sort of radicalization of the far right,” he noted. “It allows participants to essentially publicly express their identity. That not only reinforces those identities, but it also can tend to radicalize people further.”

Of course, you’ll hardly be surprised that the lineup of event speakers is worthy of a TED Nugent Talk. Scheduled to appear are Oath Keepers founder and convicted seditionist Stewart Rhodes; Micki Witthoeft, the mother of insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt, whom Donald Trump indirectly killed; and George Tanios, a rioter who was charged with providing another insurrectionist with the pepper spray that was used on three Capitol officers, including Brian Sicknick, who died the day after the insurrection. Tanios later pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors, but his participation in this event suggests he’s not into the whole remorse thing.

“They’re trying to create the historical view that these people did the right thing, that they were the patriots that stood up to the government corruption, that they were there to save our Constitution,” Daryl Johnson, a former senior analyst for domestic terrorism with the Department of Homeland Security, told the Star. “These people believe that God’s on their side, and they are these righteous truth-holders that are protecting our country. That’s why they’re calling it the Truth and Light Rally. Light means you’re enlightened, and the other people aren’t. And celebrating these people that participated in the riot by calling them patriots is keeping that fervor alive for the 2024 election.”

RELATED STORY: Five singers from Trump's pro-J6 tune have been identified. They're not 'very fine people'

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